Sony reveals next-gen PlayStation VR controllers

By Luke Albigés,
Sony has revealed the new controllers that will be replacing the Move wands as the go-to interface for playing VR games on PlayStation 5. There's no word yet on a release date or price for the pair of bespoke controllers, but we do get an early look at the form factor, as well as what they can do.

ps5 psvr controllers

In the PlayStation Blog post that unveiled the controllers for the world to see, Sony's Hideaki Nishino explains how this "will build upon the innovation we introduced with the DualSense wireless controller, which changed how games 'feel' on PS5 by unlocking a new way to tap into the sense of touch." Nishino is referring to the fact that the new VR controllers share some new features added for the PS5 controller, including adaptive triggers and haptic feedback — things that are neat additions for regular gameplay, but will be absolute game-changers for creating a sense of immersion during VR experiences.

"We also designed the new controller with great ergonomics in mind, so it’s well-balanced and comfortable to hold in each of your hands," Nishino continues. "We applied learnings from testing users with a range of hand sizes, as well as the decades of insights from controllers across all PlayStation platforms. The result is an iconic design that will change how VR games are played."

ps5 psvr controllers

Interestingly, the pair of controllers will be tracked by the headset itself rather than an external camera, and that sets up two crucial talking points. First of all, it will mean no more immersion-breaking moments where you attempt to reach out of the camera's field of vision and promply get told to return to the play area — unless you're a master contortionist, your hands are always going to be relatively close to your head during play, which should lead to interruption-free gaming. Second, if the controllers won't be tracked by an external sensor, there's a strong chance that neither will the headset itself, suggesting that it may use the same 'inside-out' tracking that has become the standard with other VR solutions. If true, you won't need to worry about the headset leaving a sensor's field of vision either, giving even more freedom of movement and a smoother experience all round.

Between the Left and Right controllers, we see all of the inputs of a standard DualSense controller minus the touchpad and D-pad (and perhaps L3 and R3 clicks, which are currently unconfirmed). Face buttons are split between the two, while triggers are set up slightly differently. L1 and R1 become 'Grip' buttons located on the side of the controllers — these will mainly be used for things like picking up items, so you'll literally have to close your grip on the controller to use them, which makes sense — with L2 and R2 as proper adaptive triggers on the rear of the controllers. They will also offer a limited degree of finger tracking, making it possible for them to pick up simple gestures such as pointing or a thumbs-up, which could be used in some really creative ways depending on just how accurate the tracking on this is. Although the controllers don't look to attach to the user's wrist/arm to elimate the need to be holding something at all times during play, there are third-party accessories for similar VR controllers that do exactly that, so we'd imagine we'll see the same support once these become available.

ps5 psvr controllers

"SIE’s Product, Engineering, and Design teams have collaborated to build our new VR controller from the ground up with a goal of making a huge leap from current-gen VR gaming," explains Nishino. "We’re thrilled with the controller we developed, but what matters now is how game creators will take advantage of the features to design the next generation of VR experiences." Developers will apparently be getting their hands on the new controllers very soon, so it's possible that Sony's next VR project may be further along than we expect, with some even suggesting that it could be on the market within as little as 18 months.

What do you make of the design, and of the functionality of the new VR controllers? Will you be jumping into the next wave of PlayStation VR gaming? Let us know below!
Luke Albigés
Written by Luke Albigés
Hey, I'm Luke! I've been playing games since way back in the 8-bit days, and have spent the last 15+ years writing and talking about them professionally for anyone and everyone who would let me. Monster Hunter fanatic, wearer of many fine hats, and always up for a raid.